subprime cards compared

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by dave, Jul 9, 2000.

  1. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    What I describe here is based on personal experience with Providian, Capital One and Orchard Banks over a period of six years. For those of you looking for a card, you may find it helpful. With all three banks, I have made payments on time, stayed within the credit limit and usually paid far more than the minimum due.

    Providian: Major advantage: frequent credit
    line increases.
    Drawbacks: high interest rate and a whopping 5% cash advance fee, lack of grace period, no online banking (except aria customers) but a Providian representative did tell me that the bank expects to offer on line banking to all customers by the end of the year.
    Customer service: uneven. some of the reps. can be arrogant and rude. Solution: hang up and call back. Odds are good you will find a decent human being. Speak to a supervisor if necessary. Supervisors will frequently override the limitations that the initial handler says he/she can do nothing about.

    Capital One: Advantages: convenience checks on some accounts, on line account services.

    Drawbacks: high interest rate, payment must be posted by the date shown on the statement (trap for a late fee). You can compensate for this by paying on line. Very conservative about granting credit limit increases and unsecuring accounts.

    Customer service: very professional

    Orchard Bank: Advantages: lowest interest rate among the three. Allows seven days (more or less) after the due date for payment to post without late fee. Bank grants regular credit line increases. On line services. Negotiable about waivers of annual fees and interest rate reductions.

    Disadvantages: none

    Customer service: excellent. friendly staff.
  2. Steven Z

    Steven Z Guest

    Thanks for the post, I really enjoy seeing comparisons such as these.

    Though I must point out that the Providian sub-prime card you have is no longer offered and has been replaced by the sub sub-prime Aria Persona.

    I have some questions


    Since you hold the 'disgraced' Providian card how is the track record with posting payments payments lost in the mail..the usual scams.

    Have you been upgraded to their Platinum sub-prime version.

    Since its their policy not to upgrade a sub-prime card to a prime card does having previously held a sub-prime card work against you in applying for their Providian Classic or Aria Portrait.

    Capital One

    Do you feel you have any chance to be upgraded to the 'classic' card and beyond, or will you labeled a "sub-prime loser" a fate that appears to have befalled so many others here and relegated to that joke of a card the Capital One Gold card.

    Appears Orchard rules. Especially with that 7 day late fee grace period, I was not aware of that. Still waiting to here if any of the recent customers have been nailed with an excessive CLI fee.
  3. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    i'll try to answer your questions:

    Re: Providian

    I have heard others complain about late posting but this has not been my experience.

    I started with Providian's classic visa which was upgraded to gold a few months ago. The credit limit was raised $1,000 with the upgrade. I also got two other increases in the month before and two months after the upgrade for another $300. The interest rate makes me reluctant to charge much on this card. I reserve it mostly for emergencies such as making the vig to my neighborhood outlaw lender who then doesn't go ahead with breaking my legs. <g>.

    I haven't given up on negotiating down the interest rate.

    I have not applied for any other cards with Providian even though I got a preapproved offer for a second card. Same terms and conditions as the card I already had.

    Capital One

    I have a classic card. The CL has been the same for the last two years. I haven't asked for an increase or an upgrade and haven't been offered one.
  4. Saar

    Saar Banned

    Thanks for the info. A few notes of my own:

    Providian: A few weeks ago it was suggested that the Aria web site would also process Providian's non-Aria cards, and register them for the on-line account program.

    Capital One: A few posts before yours, one of their card members tryed to reduce his APR and was successful (when threatening to close his account unless). Also, their rep told me that I have good chances of being approved for an unsecured after 4-6 months of resposible use of credit.


    The terms may be good, but kissing $100 goodbye before making a single charge, half of which *even if you're declined* for their card, doesn't look so attractive.

  5. Stormie

    Stormie Guest

    Dave I think alot of people will find the information useful. It's nice to see some postive postings on this message board amoungest all the negitive ones. I have heard alot of good things about the cards you spoke of . I think people who carry these cards will feel better about carring them as the begin to see more postive postings. While they may not be the so called Prime cards everyone talks of, they are not bad either. I think it would be nice to see more positive posts in the future. It would be nice if all these banks were consistant in their customer service and increases, regardless of the card type. I'm glad to hear that you have had good service with these three banks.
  6. Hubert X

    Hubert X Guest

    Providian still offers at least one subprime card: the Gold Visa. Twice in the last two months, my friend's girlfriend has been offered the Gold Visa at the same terms as my original Providian Visa. That means a $500 limit, 24% interest, a $49 application fee, etc.

    I just got an automatic credit limit increase from Capital One, my second in four months. From $200 to $400. Is that positive?
  7. FISH

    FISH Guest

    I have had good luck with Providian, 1000 increases and some 300 and 500 increases along the way that they did not have a fee for. Now it is a Gold card and 6000 limit. Never a problem and had the APR lowered 5%.

    Capital one unsecured my card in two years, I had 900 in there and the limit was 2500, good service from both.
  8. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    Reality Check

    Has your personal experience included reading what the annual fee is on the Orchard Bank account? That's a major disadvantage, one that forced me to reject an Orchard Bank offer in April.

    For most Capital One cardholders, convenience checks are a fantasy. In addition, the real drawback is not that credit limit increases are not granted, but that the limit starts at such a low amount. My initial credit limit was only $200, and the $59 annual fee was 29.5% when the card was maxed out, well over 40% at times, and that doesn't even include the interest rate of over 20%. Of course, this applies to the Capital One subprime cards that most of us have, but not to their platinum cards which are advertised on this site to keep it in business.

    While Providian provides very expensive credit, and so much of it that some of our correspondents get in trouble, Capital One is less in the business of providing actual credit than of building a credit record. The test for this is whether more money is paid each year for annual fees than for finance charges. Capital One is great for building credit, probably the best, but any positive comments about Capital One should acknowledge which goal the card is designed to reach.

    Typical Providian Sad Story:
    "I had bad credit, but then six months ago I got a Providian card, and now I'm in trouble again because I can't make the payments."

    Typical Capital One Sad Story:
    "I've been paying on my $300 Capital One card for four years now, and they still won't give me a credit limit increase."

    Check out this site for numerous examples of the preceding themes. Use the search words "Providian" and "Capital One" for starters.
  9. Mick

    Mick Guest

    RE: Reality Check

    Your sad story is right about capitol one I had the secured capitol one mastercard 3 years ago they were stubborn of giving me a credit limit increase with a perfect payment history they did not increase the credit limit or unsecure the account after 18 months with capitol one I closed the account.
    But I beat them at their own game I reapplied online a year later with the visa classic card and I got 1200.00 instant credit

    Also the sad story is Orchard bank is the pits lousy credit limit increases and they would send the bill in the mail 7 days before due meaning that If you did not write a check the minute you pulled the statement out of the mail box you would pass the due date. This bank is a joke.

    Also I have Providian Classic Card a basic good card NEVER PAID for the credit limit increases and a while back the customer service representative lower my APR.
  10. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    An Interesting Question

    I couldn't resist asking an interesting question: Why are you still with these three banks after six years? Subprime cards are useful primarily for building or rebuilding credit. Well built or rebuilt credit means that one can obtain better cards with more favorable terms. Are these cards so good that you really prefer them? Or was your credit so messed up that six years still isn't enough?

    Capital One and Providian helped me build my credit history and "credit profile," as the Providian offers phrased it. But I intend to cancel my Capital One card in a few months, before a second $59 annual fee comes due. Providian I plan to keep longer, but only if they negotiate better terms with me. Could that be it? Has persistent negotiation turned your subprime cards into prime cards
  11. Mick

    Mick Guest

    RE: An Interesting Question

    Richguy the sad story is if you have any negative information on your credit report it will affect you for at least 7 YEARS.
    Reality is no such thing as REBUILDING CREDIT
    All you are doing is adding positive credit on your credit file example: if you have 10 positive trade lines on your credit report and 1 Major Negative line your stuck in the sub-prime catagory. All you will get is sub-prime offers. That one nasty mark will lower your credit score enough so you will not get any great offers.
    However what I would recommend to you is to apply online with Capitol One and see if you can get instant credit with the visa classic card and if you get approved your annual fee will be 29 instead of 59 you are paying now and also you may get a higher credit limit increase. I had the secured mastercard with Capitol One about 3 to 4 years ago they never increased the credit line after 18 months I got fustrated with them and closed the account recently I applied online and recieved a much higher credit line and unsecured account instant credit.
    Good luck and let me know the results.
  12. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    RE: Reality Check

    Re: Capital One. A $50 annual fee is a pretty steep finance charge on a card with a $200 or $300 credit limit. Carrying a balance at 19% or 20% interest would make this card fantastically expensive.
  13. BarryN - C

    BarryN - C Guest

    RE: Reality Check and more

    Typical Providian Sad Story:
    "I had bad credit, but then six months ago I got a Providian card, and now I'm in trouble again because I can't make the payments."


    I have been reading this forum about a year now and have never seen this sad story. Nor have I ever heard any of my users tell me this reality. In fact the truth is Providian gets the best feedback of any of the offerings out there. And as far as history repeating itself (unable to make payments)... if we are not willing to correct bad money management habits, then we will not be able to pay any bills, be it Cap One, Orchard, CCB, First Premeire, or Provdian. This supports the point that we must take better strides changing our spending habits when trying to restore credit histories anmd financial status. Live within your means, budget, and lifestyle. This is the reality check.


  14. Keith

    Keith Guest


    I have not any experience with Providian or Capitol One. But I must agree with you. There are no disadvantages with Orchard. I have received excellent service from them! I encountered problems in the past and they immediately satisfied me. I pay my bill on-lie and they post it within 2 days. As a result I have never been late. As a matter of fact I view my bill on-line and pay before copy arrives in the mail. This not only keeps me on time but helps me meet the grace period (avoiding finance charges).
  15. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    RE: An Interesting Question


    Thank you for sharing your experience with me, as well as your advice.

    I am in a somewhat unusual situation in that I have both prime and subprime bank cards, two of each in fact. I keep the subprime cards because I need open credit lines, because they help my utilization ratio, and because I may need them in emergencies.

    I tried to transfer my Capital One balance to a prime card with no annual fee and a variable rate presently at 10.9%, but the limit wasn't high enough to accomodate all my balances. If I get accepted for another prime card (I did have a nice pre-selected offer recently), the balance will be transferred and I can cancel the Capital One card, which is much more expensive than my prime cards.

    Unlike some members of this message board, my biggest constraint is income rather than poor credit. I can't afford to "buy credit" through high annual fees at the same time I pay the interest on my actual debt.
  16. Mick

    Mick Guest

    RE: An Interesting Question

    richguy I would try to negotiate with Capitol One and see if they would lower the APR and waive the annual fee. In your situation you should not pay any annual fees.
    Also providian is not bad do not pay for the credit limit increases and over time they should give you credit limit increases and Negotiate with them to lower the APR.
    Good luck.
  17. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    I did my homework


    Your own ignorance is proof of nothing but your own ignorance. I have been reading this forum for only two months and I already had examples in mind. I suggested search terms precisely because your memory may have needed refreshing.

    The admittedly sad story of Angel on 6-4-2000 is an example of a major weakness in the Providian system: they grant some people too much credit too soon. They are so distinctive in this regard that I can safely assume that Providian was one of the creditors of jmegirl, who asked for advice (too late) on 6-1-2000.

    It is ironic that this distinctive trait in Providian is both a weakness and a strength. Providian gets "the best feedback" for offering lots of credit, and not for their timely posting of payments or their low interest rates. Yet given the high costs of Providian credit, anyone who accepts and uses all their credit offers can easily get into trouble.

    You probably meant to compare Providian to the other SUBPRIME "offers out there," in which case you do have a point. I happen to like Providian for their generous credit line increases, for their usually straightforward approach, and for their credit terms, all of which put them ahead of the worst subprime banks. But I will continue to maintain that anyone without a high income needs to be very careful about accepting credit from Providian.

    Peace with Honor,
    Peace with Justice,
    Peace with Reality,

  18. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    RE: An Interesting Question

    Thank you, Mick.

    I may try to negotiate with Capital One, although in your case you had to close the account first to get better terms later.

    Capital One is not a bad card, and I believe it's the best way to build a payment history
    for anyone with low income. (Providian is better for anyone who wants more credit and can afford higher payments.) But I just want more credit for my payment dollar. Ten dollars a month on my Capital One card covers the annual fee plus interest on a $300 balance. With my 10.9% card, ten dollars a month covers the interest on a balance of about $1100. Now if I can just find another prime card at 10.9%, I'm all set.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and best wishes with me.

  19. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    More about Orchard Bank


    Excellent service from Orchard Bank is good news, and I'm happy for you. We should never underestimate the importance of honesty and accuracy in posting payments.

    However, in the middle of this whole discussion, I got another offer from Orchard Bank. The annual fee was $89, which is higher than ever. Some people are willing to pay high fees as long as that builds their payment history. Others like me are much more cost-conscious and price-sensitive.

    I hope that eventually you either get price concessions from Orchard Bank (as mentioned by Dave) or find other cards with better terms.
  20. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    Thanks to Dave


    Thanks for the information you shared with us. I always appreciate "public service" postings such as yours.

    I hope I didn't seem needlessly aggressive with my questions. I'm just a very curious person whose mind works quickly at times. Even if you are stuck with subprime cards after six years, I still admire your patience.

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